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The Roaring Twenties

Turbulent Times through the Eyes of Artists, 100 Years ago and Today

Frenzied dance parties, women in men's suits, Josephine Baker and Bauhaus: these are the images that the 1920s or Roaring Twenties conjure up in our minds. But also: the rise of fascism, the ruins of a war and a worldwide pandemic - the Spanish flu. Now, one hundred years later, we have entered another eventful decade.

In the exhibition The Roaring Twenties, guest curators Colin Huizing, Liesbeth in 't Hout and Wieki Somers (Studio Wieki Somers) look back and ahead at the twenties through art, fashion and design. What do the artists hope for, at that time, and nowadays? Are there parallels? How do they represent the spirit of the times? The exhibition allows us to look through the eyes of some 60 leading contemporary and historical artists, designers and fashion designers at a world that is changing rapidly under the influence of technological progress, social engagement and a new view of gender.

The Roaring Twenties can be seen from 17 October 2021 to 3 April 2022 and fills almost the entire Museum Kranenburgh. The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive peripheral program with lectures, music, workshops and festive events (if permitted, in connection with corona), some of which are in collaboration with art venues from the municipality of Bergen. Up-to-date information will follow on kranenburgh.nl.

Turbulent Times

The period between the two world wars was a turbulent time, in which many dogmas and traditions were broken. Painters abstracted and distorted reality, or even broke with it radically. Fashion is becoming more comfortable, more daring and less role-affirming. Technological progress lets designers experiment with new forms and materials.

Although the 2020s have only just begun, we already know that 'our' 20s will also go down in the books as a period of change; a time of a global pandemic, climate change, political upheaval and social realignment. Now, in 2021, society seems to long for liberation, just as it did a hundred years ago. Is the end of the great corona pandemic in sight? New ideas about society seem to be taking root cautiously. Just like the innovators of the past, today's artists are driven by great engagement. They are concerned with the fate of the world, take a critical look at the prevailing power relations and break with existing traditions. 


Art: Small Circle to Large World Stage

Painting in Western Europe in the 1920s shows a kaleidoscope of new attitudes and styles. Young artists broke with prevailing ideas, traditions and (sometimes) morals, and expressed themselves in a new, experimental language of form. After the First World War, Bergen (North Holland) also became a place of artistic renewal; a group of committed artists developed their own expressionist signature - the Bergen School. Their landscapes, portraits and scenes breathe the atmosphere of Bergen in the 1920s: pleasant, open, and with room for joie de vivre and experimentation. The intimacy of the past has made way for the great world stage. Today's artist cannot ignore global issues such as climate, racial inequality and the pandemic. This exhibition juxtaposes the work of prominent contemporary artists with that of the Bergen School. It shows how today's artists, in the tradition of the formal experiment of the time, use their work to express their views on a world that, just like in the 1920s, is in turmoil. This 'new expressionism' is expressed by Erik van Lieshout, for example, who responds with new work to Charley Toorop's iconic group portrait Maaltijd der vrienden (The Dinner among  Friends). Van Lieshout portrays his friends at the table and very associatively refers to a world of lockdown, Black Live Matters, gender issues and more.

Fashion: Barometer of Change

Women's fashion in the 1920s brings to mind glittering dresses and cigarettes on sticks, but also short hair and boyish figures. The Flapper Girl or La Garçonne represents the regained freedom after an oppressive world war. This new woman already finds her origin during that war, when women take over the work of the men in the factories and start wearing the appropriate work clothes. After the war, leisure clothing also gained ground. Nightlife flourished, women freed themselves from the constraints of corsets and began to exercise and dance to jazz music. Clothing developed along with the growing - physical and social - freedom of movement, including for men.

In the year 2021, gender is again an important issue for most fashion designers. A new leading group of fashion designers - Duran Lantink, Ninamounah, MAISON the FAUX, Bonne Suits and Das Leben am Haverkamp - explicitly speak out about gender, inclusiveness and freedom of the body with their designs. Their fashion is radical in its equality.

In the exhibition, installations of their work are juxtaposed with unusual and everyday pieces of clothing from the 1920s.

Design: Urge for Innovation in Dialogue

The urge for innovation in the 1920s led to the development of new production methods and techniques. Many designers were at the forefront of this modernisation and wanted to use their products to contribute to the improvement of society and the living environment. Their design products have become icons of innovation; with their design mentality and lust for experimentation they inspire the current generation of designers.

Studio Wieki Somers (Dylan van den Berg & Wieki Somers) allows the designs of a hundred years ago to enter into dialogue with those of today. In our time, too, research is eagerly being conducted into new materials and other production processes, but from other motives and with other materials. Innovation with Bakelite, glass and steel by Eileen Gray and Mart Stam, among others, is giving way to experiments with biomaterials, 3D printing and digital materials by design studios Klarenbeek & Dros and Wang & Söderström.

The designs of 100 years ago and today meet on carpets designed by Studio Wieki Somers. Their dialogue shows that the urge for innovation is of all times.


Tjebbe Beekman (NL, 1972) | Else Berg (PL, 1877-1942) | Esiri Erheriene-Essi (GB, 1982) | Raquel van Haver (CO, 1989) | Frans Huysmans (NL, 1855-1954) | Harrie Kuijten (NL, 1893-1952) | Erik van Lieshout (NL, 1968) | Kees Maks (NL, 1876-1967) | John Rädecker (NL, 1885-1956) | Charley Toorop (NL, 1891-1955) | Helen Verhoeven (NL, 1974) | Anne Wenzel (DE, 1972) | Matthieu Wiegman (NL, 1886-1971)


Fashion Designers

Das Leben am Haverkamp (Anouk van Klaveren (NL, 1991), Christa van der Meer (NL, 1988), Dewi Bekker (NL, 1990) and Gino Anthonisse (NL, 1988)) | Duran Lantink (NL, 1987) | MAISON the FAUX (Tessa de Boer (NL, 1990) and Joris Suk (NL, 1987) | Jean Patou (FR, 1887 – 1936) | Bonne Reijn (NL, 1990) | Studio Ninamounah (Ninamounah Langestraat (NL, 1991) and Robin Burggraaf (NL, 1996)) 


Alvar Aalto (FI, 1898-1976) | Anni Albers (DE, 1899-1994) | Constantin Boym (RU, 1955) | Marianne Brandt (DE, 1893-1983) | Pierre Chareau (FR, 1883 - 1950) | Pierre Charpin (FR, 1962) | Erich Consemüller (DE, 1902-1957) | Formafantasma (Andrea Trimarchi (IT, 1980) and Simone Farresin (IT, 1983)) | Eileen Gray (FR, 1878-1976) | Konstantin Grcic (DE, 1965) | Dave Hakkens (NL, 1988) | Olivier van Herpt (NL, 1989) & Sander Wassink (NL, 1984) | Bernhard Hoetger (DE, 1874-1949) | Pierre Jeanneret (CH, 1896-1967) | Chris Kabel (NL, 1975) | Dirk van der Kooij (NL, 1983) | Julia Lohmann (DE, 1977) | Christien Meindertsma (NL, 1980) | Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (DE, 1886-1969) | László Moholy-Nagy (HU, 1895-1946) | Nendo (Oki Sato, JP, 1977) | Isamu Noguchi (US, 1904-1988) | Charlotte Perriand (FR, 1903-1999) | Bertjan Pot (NL, 1975) | Hans Richter (DE, 1888-1976) | Gerrit Rietveld (NL, 1888-1964) and Gerard A. van de Groenekan (NL, 1904-1994, implementation) | Seok-hyeon Yoon (KR, 1992) |Oskar Schlemmer (DE, 1888-1943) | Mart Stam (NL, 1899-1986) | Studio Klarenbeek & Dros (Eric Klarenbeek (NL, 1978) and Maartje Dros (NL, 1980), in cooperation with Atelier Luma) | Studio Minale Maeda (Kuniko Maeda (JP, 1976) and Mario Minale (IT, 1973) | Studio Wieki Somers (Wieki Somers (NL, 1976) and Dylan van den Berg (NL, 1971) | Studio Swine (Azusa Murakami (JP, 1984) and Alexander Groves (GB, 1983) | Jonathan Trayte (GB, 1980) | Wang & Söderström (Anny Wang (DK, 1990) and Tim Söderström (DK, 1988) | Hozan Zangana (IQ, 1983) | Piet Zwart (NL, 1885-1977)


Anuschka Blommers (1969) & Niels Schumm (1969)

Prologue - audio-video installation

Eric Blom (NL, 1958) & BEARproject (René Meister (1961), Eric Blom (1958))

Colin Huizing

Art historian Colin Huizing is an independent curator and producer of exhibitions and books. He previously worked as senior curator at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam and was co-curator of the exhibition herman de vries - to be all ways to be the Dutch entry for the Venice Biennale in 2015. For Museum Kranenburgh, he compiled the exhibitions Lucht (Air, 2020) and Kunstenaars van Die Brücke (Die Brücke Artists, 2020-2021). 

Wieki Somers

Since 2003, Wieki Somers and Dylan van den Berg have been working together under the name Studio Wieki Somers. The studio turns everyday objects into extraordinary objects; the designs stand out because of their subtle detailing and technical ingenuity. Wieki Somers represents a new generation of Dutch designers who have been successful internationally since the early 2020s. The studio's work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. 

Liesbeth in 't Hout

Liesbeth in 't Hout has made a name in the Dutch fashion landscape, including as a workwear consultant for a number of large companies. In 1992, she became a teacher at the Design Academy Eindhoven and later a board member. From 2006 to 2011, In 't Hout was director of the Amsterdam Fashion Institute.


The Roaring Twenties is made possible by:

Municipality of Bergen | Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Noord-Holland | Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie | TAQA Cultuurfonds